Tossed Salads and Scrambled Eggs

Archive for the ‘USA’ Category

A Tom Douglas fundraiser for Hurricane Sandy.

Local restauranteurs and Seattleites supporting the relief efforts.

Tini Bigs poured Manhattans.

Ma’Ono‘s Talde Hawaiian bread bun with Portuguese sausage, pickled cucumber, garlic vinegar mayonnaise and coriander.

Spur‘s Katz’s pastrami sliders.

Dahlia Lounge‘s Momofuku pork bun.

CanlisEleven Madison Park black truffle and foie gras macarons.

Skillet‘s linguine with clams.

Staple & Fancy‘s Esca crudo.

Hot Cakes‘ chocolate egg creams and chocolate chip cookies.

Seattle hearts New York City!

I’m in a New York state of mind…

Crossing the International Date Line and hemispheres have confused me. I think it’s spring in Seattle and I open the passenger door to get into the car. To drive. It’s opposite seasons but the weather is the same in Sydney and Seattle. Crisp mornings and cool evenings are moderated by hours of glorious sunshine. We’ve been blessed with a technicolour autumn where produce is ripe and bountiful. We celebrated the local harvest at An Incredible Feast last night. The Neighbourhood Farmers Market Alliance fundraiser was hosted by Swansons Nursery.

Recycled outdoor furniture on display.

Pots of asters and chrysanthemums.

An ice bucket of DRY Soda.

Silent auction items.

The North Greenhouse decorated by pumpkins, hay bales and corn stalks.

Mountain Lodge Farm cheese.

Willie Greens Organic Farm and Renee Erickson of Boat Street Café: rainbow chard salad.

Let Us Farm and Matt Lewis of Where Ya At Matt: brown butter sage beignets with winter squash purée.

Loki Fish, Hama Hama Oyster Company and Taichi Kitamura of Sushi Kappo Tamura: blue pool oysters and salmon roe with momiji ponzu sauce.

Skagit River Ranch, Tahoma Farms and Jason Wilson of Crush: pork belly with onion and pepper conserve, and arugula walnut pesto.

Anthony Polozzi of Steelhead Diner: pork rillettes.

Olsen Farms, Hayton Farms and Zephyr Paquette of Skelly and the Bean: petit paquets.

Chester Gerl of Matt’s in the Market: txistorra sausage, fingerling potatoes and charred walla walla sweet onions.

Aamaranth Urban Farm, Dog Mountain Farm, and Wiley Frank and PK of Little Uncle: shaved ice with apples, pears and candied potatoes (nam keng sai).

Jerzy Boyz and Autumn Martin of Hot Cakes Molten Chocolate Cakery: butterscotch, apple cider and ginger (butter beer).

Pipitone Farms, Growing Things Farm and Lisa Nakamura of Allium: tomato and bean salad with sun-dried tomato vinaigrette.

Local Roots Farm and Phillipe Thomelin of Olivar: spicy vegetarian empanadilla.

Kittitas Valley Greenhouse and Charles Walpole of Blind Pig Bistro: tomato panzanella with ricotta salata and charred eggplant sauce.

Tiny’s Organic and Jacky Lo of Wild Ginger: Vietnamese style stone fruit salad with chicken.

River Farm, Taylor Shellfish and Tamara Murphy of Terra Plata: Mediterranean mussels with garbanzo beans, sweet pepper cream and roasted pepper aioli.

Rents Due Ranch and Dezi Bonow of Palace Kitchen: wedge salad, celery root dressing, delicata squash marmalade, blue cheese, pumpkin seed and smoky red onion pickles.

Nashi pear sorbet with vanilla ice cream and Rockridge apple wood smoked salt.

Thanks to Kimberly and Leslie for the lovely company!

Savoury and sweet pastizzis at The Original Maltese Café in Surry Hills Sydney.

Coffee art at Strand Arcade in Sydney.

Sardinian cooking class with Pilu at Freshwater‘s Giovanni Pilu at Accoutrement in Sydney.

Bacon and egg breakfast sandwich at Mr Stuzzichini in Hunters Hill Sydney.

Burrata and beet salad at Pendolino in Sydney.

Spectacular vista at Café Harbour View at Taronga Zoo in Mosman Sydney.

A country lunch at Grazing in Gundaroo.

Milanese cuisine at Balla by Stefano Manfredi in Pyrmont Sydney.

Pastries at Bécasse Bakery in Westfield Sydney.

Malaysian hawker food at Sassy’s Red by Chinta Ria in Westfield Sydney.

Regional Chinese fare at Spice Temple by Neil Perry in Sydney.

Scones at The Old Bakery Tea Rooms in Berrima.

Vegetarian cooking class with Poppy‘s Jerry Traunfeld at PCC West Seattle.

Lunch at Vessel in Downtown Seattle.

Dungeness crab, seaweed noodle, spicy red curry and crème fraîche at Revel in Fremont.

Chocolate tasting at Northwest Chocolate Festival.

I have a love-hate relationship with the food truck pod in the Amazon precinct. In a car park on Harrison near Fairview in South Lake Union, there is a diverse selection of food trucks on rotation on weekdays. I love that there’s a location for the mobile eateries in the neighbourhood. I hate that the crowds idle on the footpath. I’m in the area several times a week and it’s an obstacle course to hustle through the blue badge coterie.

I’ve noticed some trucks position their windows towards the car park so the queues are away from the street. Others park their trucks at an angle to maximise the space between their vehicle and the footpath. I appreciate the pedestrian friendly effort!

On the day of the Feast on the Farm dinner, Shirley and I enjoyed a frybread lunch from Off the Rez.

Frybread is a Native American specialty and we both ordered the combo of two Indian tacos and one sweet frybread. On the left is chicken chilli verde and on the right is pulled pork. The frybread was a golden puff, a fluffy pillow for the taco toppings. A sturdy container for the meats, the frybread soaked up the marinade and had a lightly chewy texture.

The Indian tacos were garnished with coleslaw and sprigs of coriander. Braised in beer, the chicken was drizzled with a rich crema sauce. Smoked for ten hours, a honey bourbon barbecue sauce was stirred in the pulled pork. Both were tender and strongly seasoned, an unctuous introduction to frybreads.

Sprinkled with cinnamon sugar, the sweet frybread resembled a doughnut minus the hole. It was ethereal, so delicate and similar to Greek loukoumades and Italian zeppole.

The Nutella version of sweet frybread was a sticky mess, the viscous hazelnut chocolate dripped down the side.

Off the Rez has affirmed my liking for food trucks!

When I’m in a lift I have a tendency to exit at the next floor the door opens. Each level of my work building in Sydney was painted a different colour so it was discombobulating when I’m in the foyer of the wrong one.

Here in Seattle I’ve inserted a key into the wrong apartment and panicked when it wouldn’t turn. I looked at the number and realised I was three floors above home. I gasped, stumbled and ran down the stairs. And I counted the number of floors.

When Marisa was driving us to dinner at Gainsburg we took the scenic route. We were happily chatting until we crossed the Fremont Bridge and not the Aurora Bridge. We were going in the direction of Greenwood, and thankfully American blocks are perpendicular and numbered so our absentmindedness was easily rectified.

The exterior is ominously clad in black, a ‘dining room and cocktails’ sign beckoned.

It was dark inside. Amber lights diffused a sepia tone and the furniture was in moody shades of red and brown.

We perched on stools at the counter and quizzed the affable chef on the menu.

An ornate plate of charcuterie consisted of coppa, porcini ham, smoked duck breast, olives, cornichons, bread and mustard.

A pot of macaronis et fromage was served with a side salad. Molten Gruyère and Brie were stirred into penne seasoned with roasted garlic and thyme.

A narrow baguette was stuffed with slices of duck breast and brie, caramelised apple and fennel, arugula and Dijon mustard, and served with frites.

The cheesecake du jour was salted caramel. A fluffy cheesecake with a thin biscuit base, the saltiness was balanced by the drizzle of glossy caramel on top.

Layers of spongy chocolate cake and satiny fudge were an opulent dessert.

Appetites satiated and enriched by conversations, we returned across the Aurora Bridge and I alighted the lift on my floor!

Chinatown-International District. I’m sceptical about this hyphenated neighbourhood in Seattle. It was eerily quiet on Chinese New Year (農曆新年) last year. The streets were devoid of people and absent of colour. There were no red lanterns, no auspicious posters and no lion dances. It was a forlorn hour as I wandered up and down King Street.

In contrast we were greeted by a cacophony of sounds at Dragon Fest last month. Dull drums and sharp cymbals reverberated through the crowds as the nimble lion pranced and leaped. We were there for the $2 Food Walk to sample the multicultural eateries. Sea Garden (一定好) was last on our list and their salt and pepper chicken wings were a highlight.

I return for weekday lunch the next week and shared four items between the three of us. The walls were painted a drab olive green, and the dining room was furnished with laminate tables and wooden chairs.

Thickened by corn starch, morsels of tofu and shiitake mushrooms were suspended in the savoury bowl of complimentary soup.

A tangled mess of egg noodles were crispy on the bottom and topped with brown sauce. The pork and bean sprout chow mein (肉絲炒麵) was a hearty and toothsome dish.

A neon orange, the sweet and sour pork (咕嚕肉) was sticky and bold. Chunks of tender pork were tossed in a sugary and vinegary syrup.

These six crescents were deep fried prawns (炸蝦球). Similar to beer battered fish, the prawns had an airy coating and were dipped in plum sauce.

Last was eggplant Sichuan style with minced meat (魚香茄子). Silky and spicy, its richness was tempered with plain rice.

The Chinese name of Sea Garden aptly translates to ‘certainly or definitely good’.

If I had to name a favourite restaurant in Seattle it would be Lark. Seasonal ingredients, small plates, attentive service. I have dined there twice and both meals presented regional cuisine at its best and epitomised what I love about a restaurant experience.

The only blemish is the lighting. For a city ensconced in a melancholic grey for half the year, Seattle’s eateries are in the shadow of candles and dimmers. The Danish word ‘hygge’ is the perfect description of cosy ambience but I would like to read the menu without squinting!

The Lark dining room has a homely feel. Opaque curtains partition the centre tables and there is a row of booths along one side. It is intimate and comfortable.

Categorised into cheeses, vegetables and grains, charcuterie, fish and meat, the menu is designed for sharing and the wait staff can recommend the number of dishes depending on your appetite.

Wine was poured and bread buttered as our group of four chatted on a quiet Sunday evening in spring.

Asparagus featured in three of the courses and starred in this in Provençal style. Tender spears were sautéed in olive oil, garlic, rosemary and black olive.

On a terracotta plate were ribbons of La Quercia prosciutto garnished with figs and Parmigiano Reggiano shavings.

Three plump scallops were atop asparagus in an earthy broth.

The ubiquitous asparagus were paired with slices of rare Mishima Ranch wagyu hanger steak, roasted potatoes and a dollop of ramp butter.

A petite cocotte of pommes de terre Robuchon was smooth and buttery, an elegant mashed potatoes.

Dining with the French means duck. A crispy Liberty Ducks leg was served with spring onions and green chickpeas.

I neglected to note the third cheese but the other two were Kukulu Bleu de Brebis from the Pyrénées and Taleggio from Lombardy.

A compact round of hazelnut brown butter cake was adorned with whiskey poached figs and accompanied by a quenelle of salted caramel ice cream.

Light and ethereal, a generous mound of miniature madeleines was dipped in a tiny pot of Theo organic dark chocolate sauce.

Lark is simply splendid, a beacon for the Pacific Northwest.


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